Two months ago.
Time passed and coworkers moved onto the next happiness and sadness. They stopped asking you how you are with expressions filled with sorrow. They forgot you lost the person who made you whole.
I know your struggle, I know your pain, but you don’t realize I know.
You go home every night to your boys, fulfilling role of father and mother. Consoling and supporting, showing strength gained through years of surgeries, chemotherapy and prayer.
You survived the worst, the moment you dreaded for years. She’s gone, leaving nothing behind except pictures, her personal items, and the memory of the warmth of her skin against yours. Sometimes you can’t bear the pain, and other times you’re relieved you no longer carry the burden of a sick wife—which brings with it another layer of guilt.
Some nights you dream of life with her before cancer intervened. In the moments between sleep and wakefulness, the images of your happy, healthy wife fade and the realization she’s dead crashes through your thoughts, shattering your heart all over again.
I watch you each day at your desk as you focus on the mundane activities that distract you from the pain and keep you sane. I smile and ask how you are, knowing you’ll lie and say you’re fine.
I can’t find a way to tell you how I ache for you. How do I say that I know the helplessness you felt because you couldn’t fix it? How do I tell you I know the devastating diagnosis she overcame four years ago during my battle with the disease?
How do I confess that I’m sorry I lived and she died?
Tomorrow morning you will wake and battle back the demons of sorrow once again. At work I’ll smile and ask you how you are, and you’ll smile back and lie.
And I’ll know.